Copyright and Droit d’auteur

What is copyright?

Protecting copyright, determining its scope, ensuring that it is respected by representing plaintiffs and defendants in court, is a fundamental and central duty assumed by LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL lawyers.

Advisory Services

Works of the mind take many forms, be they novels, music, songs, drawings or designs, photographs, pictures, the plastic arts, Facebook pages, YouTube tracks, staged work, fashion creations or any other form of the creative arts. Their makers stand to benefit from the services of LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL lawyers able to advise on issues of protection under droit d’auteur.

We are also advise on ownership and other issues arising when collective, commissioned, advertising or creative work is performed by those under contract to an employer.

Advice is also available regarding the formal procedures necessary to establish safe legal entitlement.

LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL negotiates and drafts contracts with publishers, producers, employers, advertising and communication agencies, under the rules of the French Code of Intellectual Property governing the material form of the copyright assigned, the time and geographical scope of assignment of rights, financial compensation (flat rate or proportional), and the right, whether moral or not, of a named artist to respect for his or her work.

Similarly, licensing terms, the assignment of rights, the payment of fees and issues of the performance or failure to perform obligations, are covered by specific clauses under droit d’auteur contracts executed to pre-empt litigation or provide protection against potential legal challenge.

In cross-border litigation, LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL relies on rights established by international agreement and by the provisions of European Union law


Litigation mainly involves infringement lawsuits in which LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL lawyers represent and assist clients both as plaintiffs and defendants.

In support of plaintiffs, specialist lawyers check for the existence of and entitlement to copyright by determining the extent to which the work concerned is original. Preliminary processes such as court-ordered confiscations and the commissioning of evidential reports from Bailiffs are set in train. Once writs are served, lawyers acting in accordance with due process make evidence-backed submissions with a view to rulings on the merits, and may seek injunctions to acquire new evidence of the scale of infringement and prejudice suffered.

In support of defendants, LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL seeks grounds for the voidance or inadmissibility of the legal action raised (absence of entitlement to copyright, statute of limitations, exceptions of parody, rights to private copying, loss of rights under EU law …). Our lawyers make searches of prior artistic output to dispute the claimed originality of artworks and by providing evidence of prior art, challenge claims of prejudice suffered by way of allegations of copyright infringement shown to be void of substance.

The settlement of these issues relies on the considerations arising from complex legal enactments and fast-changing case law, where legal precedents are offset by the provisions of the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights (rule of proportionality).

The many rulings successfully sought from the specialist panels of the lower and appeal courts testify to the depth of professionalism of LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL lawyers who also exercise their skills in mediation and arbitration proceedings.

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